Published on: Sep 26, 2016
After much speculation surrounding today's announcement from NASA, it has been confirmed that the latest imagery from Jupiter's moon Europa shows "surprising" evidence of activity.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured some compelling images that lend credence to the theory that Europa is housing an ocean beneath its surface. Let's find out what NASA revealed in their briefing!
According to new images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Europa is showing signs that it is hiding an entire ocean beneath its depths.
As it stands, this particular moon of Jupiter is the only place in our solar system where life could potentially exist beyond Earth.
There was speculation prior to the press conference that NASA had indeed discovered life on another planet, but they were quick to dispell these theories, saying:
"Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa."
At the conference, speakers included Paul Hertz, William Sparks, Britany Schmidt, and Jennifer Wiseman. All of these people are involved with either NASA or other reputable organizations.
Europa is one of the largest among Jupiter's 67 recorded moons. In 2013, the Hubble Telescope observed water vapor erupting from the surface of the moon, which was the last major discovery.
This was the origin of the many theories that an ocean exists beneath the surface of Europa. It was originally thought that a future expedition would need to drill through the ice layers on the surface of the planet before they could reach the ocean.
The observations done by the Hubble Telescope have found that a global, saline liquid engulfs the planet. It's possible that this liquid could be studied without the need for drilling.
This new evidence also points closer to proof that the plumes exist and that, ultimately, an ocean exists as well. Essentially, the press conference was meant to showcase continued evidence that the ocean theories are in fact, real.
Of course, we still don't have solid evidence, but more tests are planned, along with a fly-by mission in the future.